Laurel Whole Plant Organics has landed on its biggest retail stage yet by launching online at Anthropologie.
In the two-and-a-half years since its founding, the brand created to provide skin-care solutions that are simultaneously pure and powerful built a distribution network of around 80 spas and stores dedicated to natural merchandise such as The Detox Market, Vert Beauty, Oresta and CAP Beauty. But the rising demand for its offerings is transcending a hyper-aware niche consumer base for green products and opening it up to broader distribution partners like Anthropologie.
“It’s really cool that Anthropologie is bringing in unique, handmade and special products for the average woman. Women are getting smarter, and they definitely want something unique and special. They love that our products are handmade, and they can’t get them at a Nordstrom or Target,” said Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ owner and formulator Laurel Shaffer. “It brings us to a new audience.”
To start, Anthropologie opted to carry seven of Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ bestselling items priced from $24 to $96: Facial Elixir, Honey Berry Enzyme Facial Mask, Body Oil, Antioxidant Facial Serum, Face & Body Healing Balm, Eye Serum and Citrus Spice Lip Treatment. If the products perform well on the retailer’s web site, the brand is expected to enter beauty sections at its large-format stores. In total, Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ selection encompasses 24 products.
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Two of the most popular products in Laurel Whole Products Organics’ lineup are the Antioxidant Facial Serum and the Honey Berry Enzyme Facial Mask. The serum is the first product Shaffer developed, and it’s packed with ingredients from 31 different plants, including rosemary, nettle, sea buckthorn and frankincense. “As someone who knows and understands plants, these are the plants that I want to put on my skin every morning. I could never use another facial serum on my face,” said Shaffer, adding about the mask, “It is good for so many skin types from acne to rosacea to aging, and it smells delicious and is easy to use. It’s a crowd pleaser.”
Shaffer, a spa enthusiast and former sommelier who studied herbalism to understand the contents of skin-care recipes, relies on plants cultivated on biodynamic farms for the ingredients in her products and sources roughly half those plants from farms within 200 miles of her brand’s Sausalito, Calif., headquarters. Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ products stay away from dilutive alcohol and water, and instead contain hydrosols or herbal distillates. The oils in them are raw, cold-pressed and unrefined.
To maintain the quality of its skin care, Laurel Whole Plant Organics manufactures in-house. “When manufacturing is outsourced and there are third-party manufacturers involved, I find that I have never been happy with the quality because third-party manufacturers are in business for themselves. They make sure they get the cheapest ingredients possible for profit margins,” said Shaffer. She noted Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ current facility could handle production for a brand twice its size, but she has set her sights on someday securing a roomier facility on a farm.
So far this year, Laurel Whole Plant Organics has tripled its sales from last year. However, Shaffer is not relentlessly chasing growth. She estimated she’d cap her brand’s store and spa count at a few hundred doors. “We aren’t looking to get into any big-box retailers,” she said. “We really like the thought of being exclusive. I would like to keep our focus on Anthropologie, small independent stores, and spas and resorts.”